In this era of sex-crazed, gutter-mouthed celebrities and outrageous behavior at all levels of public and private life, it takes a lot to shock. But the shock meter was put to the ultimate test on the June 25 episode of the late-night talk show "Politically Incorrect." Former "Baywatch" babe and Playboy cover girl Donna D'Errico offered the following prescription for homeless people: "A lot of them don't want to work. They would prefer just to get handouts. And my take on that is, there's a dog pound and there should be a human pound.
Remember back 20 years or so when we saw films like "All the President's Men" and "Under Fire?" Then, journalists were heroes, and the media -- especially the Washington Post -- were bulwarks against the excesses of power. Not any more. The mirror that is Hollywood, reflecting back the image of our culture, has a new vision of the media and it isn't a pretty.
Experts say there are as many as 20 million men in the U.S. afflicted with ED -- Erectile Dysfunction -- as impotence is now officially called. Astonishingly, less than 10 percent of them ever seek help for this condition. For most, it is better to just not talk about it. But all this is lack of candor is about to change dramatically. ED is coming out of the closet with a flourish as a new array of drugs emerge designed to help men get their penises working, or working better as the case may be.
The runoff election between San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and Board of Supervisors President Tom Ammiano is a month away, but passions are already in overdrive. Having parachuted into the race as a write-in candidate just weeks before the November election, Ammiano, an unlikely political hero, stands poised to give the incumbent a run for his money. Many are hoping the openly gay standup comic will bring integrity and concern for the people back to City Hall.
Dan Perkins' provocative Tom Tomorrow/This Modern World strip has been dumped by U.S. News and World Report after less than six months. The Tom Tomorrow cartoon, arguably the most radical message consistently reaching large audiences in the U.S. -- it has recently run in the New York Times and in 100 alternative weeklies with circulation close to 5 million -- had provided the boring weekly with a little pizzazz.
One year after President Clinton declared the goal of finding an AIDS vaccine within a decade -- and that he was "prepared to do all [he could] to make it happen" -- the government's AIDS vaccine research program has continued at the same unhurried pace as before with only nominal achievements and developments, and corporate commitment is at an all-time low, according to "Nine Years and Counting," a new report by the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition.
After a six-month publishing hiatus and several years of rough times -- suffering from what one insider called Battered Women's Movement Syndrome -- Ms. Magazine is back on the newsstands with a new lease on life. The magazine now faces the challenge of finding a new generation of readers while also keeping their loyal subscribers, who remember the magazine as a defining voice for a generation of women.
Did you know that sweatshops on American soil have been sewing uniforms for the U.S. military? Or that the same companies that deliver energy to your home may be supporting brutal dictators in Third World countries? Or that the Pentagon has plans to put weapons in outer space, directly violating international law? If you did, you were among the few, because these stories -- and seven others like them -- were just named the Top Ten Censored Stories of 1999.
It goes without saying that the commercial intrusion into public life has gone far beyond epidemic proportions. But to make sure you realize just how ridiculous it is, a creative team at New York University will soon be staging the 4th Annual Schmios Awards -- a mock award ceremony that pokes fun at the outrageous world of corporate advertising.
As the media world changes rapidly, especially on the Web, independent journalists need to think outside of the box. Case in point is Project Censored, which not only has a dubious selection process for its annual list of Censored stories, but also reinforces self-marginalizing, defeatist behavior. It's time to honor high-quality alternative journalism with a new award -- this time celebrating independent stories that break out into mainstream consciousness, rather than ones that wallow in obscurity.
America the Cruel has two relatively new female media stars. The two, Laura Schlessinger -- aka Dr. Laura -- and Judy Scheidlin -- aka Judge Judy -- have now uttered enough hateful inanities that popular uprisings against them are underway. These campaigns aim to put enough pressure on advertisers to dislodge the two women from their highly visible, very profitable and socially destructive media perches.